A Year with the Saints – 21 May


You should never be displeased at the sight of your own imperfections, except with a displeasure humble, tranquil, and peaceful, not excited and angry; for this latter kind does more harm than good. Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Francis practiced this in his own case. He said one day: “For myself, if I had, for example, a great desire not to fall into the vice of vanity, and yet fell very deeply into it, I should not wish to reproach myself in this manner: ‘Are you not a wretch, an abomination, for having allowed yourself to be conquered by this vice, after so many resolutions? Die of shame! do not raise your eyes to Heaven, bold, disloyal traitor to God.’ or with similar words. But I would prefer to correct it quietly, and in a compassionate way, saying: ‘Come now, my poor heart, here we are fallen again into the ditch, which we have so many times resolved to avoid. Ah, let us rise up, and leave it once for all! Let us have recourse to the mercy of God, and hope in it, for it will aid us to be more constant in future; and in the meantime let us return to the road of humility. Courage! let us rise above ourselves, for God will help us, and we shall advance.’ Upon this reproach I would found a firm and solid resolution not to fall again into the error, and to apply suitable remedies.”

Saint Vincent de Paul never felt anger or bitterness against himself on account of his defects, and often said that vice should be hated and virtue loved, not because the former displeases us, and the latter pleases us, but only for love of God, who hates vices and loves virtue; and thus the pain felt for a defect will have something in it sweet and tranquil.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga was not discouraged when he committed faults, but only turned his glance upon his own heart and said, “The earth has yielded its fruit”.

MLA Citation